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Trade War

Beijing says US and China to work toward removing all tariffs

Trump tweets China will 'reduce and remove tariffs' on US-made cars

Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump have called a 90-day truce in the trade war they had been waging all year.   © AP

WASHINGTON/TOKYO -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump have told their economic teams to work toward removing all tariffs, China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Monday at a daily news briefing in Beijing.

"The consensus reached by the leaders of our two countries is to halt the imposition of new tariffs and at the same time, the two sides' leaders instructed the economics teams of both sides to intensify talks toward the removal of all tariffs that have been imposed," Geng said.

Earlier on Monday, Trump tweeted that China had agreed to "reduce and remove" the 40% tariffs imposed on U.S. made cars.

No further details were disclosed. It is unclear how both sides would deal with the tariffs that have already been imposed.

Comments from both sides come a day after Trump and Xi called a 90-day truce in the trade war they had been waging all year.

In July, the U.S. administration issued an additional 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, including cars, accusing Beijing of intellectual copyright theft. In retaliation, China imposed an additional 25% tariffs on U.S. cars. 

The United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement on Wednesday that the U.S. would consider raising tariffs on Chinese automobiles to 40%, before the U.S.-China summit. "China's policies are especially egregious with respect to automobile tariffs," he said. "At the president's direction, I will examine all available tools to equalize tariffs applied to automobiles." 

On Tuesday, Trump had threatened General Motors over its announcement of job cuts, tweeting that he was "very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Nothing being closed in Mexico & China."

In 2017, exports of automobiles from the U.S. to China amounted to $10.5 billion, driven mainly by shipments of luxury cars such as BMW.

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